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Centenary gets kudos for unveiling Mastercard debit card


Centenary gets kudos for unveiling Mastercard debit card

Centenary Bank’s new Mastercard Debit Card will allow her customers to buy stuff from around the world

Centenary Bank has unveiled a cashless payment methord – the CentePlatinumMastercard – a debit card for its premium class customers that will enable them make purchases of goods and services worldwide.

This comes after the bank entered a partnership with Mastercard, the world’s largest provider of credit card payment services.

Bank of Uganda Deputy Governor Dr. Michael Atingi-Ego hailed Centenary for the feat.

Atingi-Ego said: “The launch of its Mastercard Platinum debit card is only the next evolution of its {Centenary’s} digital channels.

He added: “Card and contactless payments are popular for obvious and subtle

They are cleaner than using cash, cheaper than wire transfers, quicker than using cheques, and, obviously, not as risky as sending cash via the post office or on a bus.

On the subtle side, psychologists and behavioral economists have observed a phenomenon called “pain of paying”i.e., the handing over of money feels like losing money. The pain of paying is stronger when paying with cash than with a credit or debit card. Therefore, promoting card payments is one way to stimulate spending, which is good for economic activity.

The deputy governor said the move is good for Centenary Bank because it spends less on cash handling and process.

“With the Platinum debit card, Centenary Bank will also enrich its value proposition to esteemed clients through value-added services, hence building loyalty. Much as this card might not have a universal appeal, it shows increasing confidence in the power of digitalization for service delivery by an otherwise conservative bank.”

The launch of Centenary’s Debit card comes at a time when digital financial transactions are skyrocketing.

Atingi-Ego for example noted that between September 2020 and September 2021, the value of mobile payments increased by 84% while Debit card usage increased by 76%. Internet banking also shot up by 31%.

This is the opportunity provided byt the pandemic to grow digital financial services. The launch of this platinum Mastercard will further enhance this growth going forward.”

Fabian Kasi, the Bank’s Managing Director said its Premium customers will use the Cente Mastercard debit card to access higher transaction limits, access to airport lounges and discounts for local and global online purchases, travel and hotel services.

Atingi-Ego remarked that digital financial flows can longer be ignored, especially if one considers the success of mobile money transfers in East Africa.

“The experience of mobile money in East Africa has proved that digital technology is a firm lever for financial inclusion. Technology offers means to improve access to financing for households as well as small and medium-sized enterprises. Using digitalization, Centenary Bank can go beyond reaching the rural and underserved (esp. the poorer households and microenterprises) to transform their access to financial services by discreetly leveraging their digital payment data to overcome their lack of collateral.

“Data has been called the new oil. And in the words of Ms Izabella Kaminska, a Financial Times journalist, “Payment data is probably the best quality oil in the business. Payment data is a comprehensive record of how you spend and live your life. There’s no cheating. It explicitly tells when you are most likely to spend, how much, and how frequently.”  Kasi, I do hope that you will accept my challenge to extend your current outreach using digitalization and to turn the poorer households and MSMEs into bankable clients by harnessing their electronic payments data; all “in accordance with the law”.

Atingi-Ego however warned the bank to guard against the risks associated with online payments.

“Any opportunity comes with risk. It is critical to enhancing risk management frameworks to contain the risks that are inherent to digital financial and payment services, such as cyber attacks, outages, technical glitches, fraud, and faulty algorithms”




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